Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nga ra o mua

I have just learnt the Maori phrase for the past. (Thank you jb.) It is nga ra o mua. Translated, it means 'what is in front'. I'll say it again... (it messes deliciously with my brain...) the past is in front of me. Of course I get the logic. My left brain can make sense of it. The past is known, has been seen and can be described, so it lies in front. The future (unseen, unknown) is in the dark, and so lies behind. But while I 'get it' in one small corner, the notion tips me over, unseats me. I think the potency is not only that it challenges my own deeply held (culturally forged) assumption that I'm facing and stepping forward into my future; I'm firing up on it also, because in my inner room not governed by logic, this front word mua says something true about what I've been experiencing.

Perhaps it's a feature of being a particular age - but I notice that my past is rising to meet to me at unexpected junctures. Suddenly I'm connecting with a memory. The sounds, the smells, the feelings take on a shape that asks again for a place in me. Marylinn's recent blog spoke of something similar in her experience. In her post she talks about russian dolls as a way to make sense of those layers of life lived. I love this notion of nested selves - and wonder if one of the 'tasks' of this part of our lived life is about learning to embrace each part that's out of kilter - any doll that's needing renestling.

As part of my training, I remember being taken through a visualisation exercise. As group members, we were invited in our own minds to recall ourselves as a child at a particular age; to picture all that I could of me (it was surprisingly not very difficult) - the hair clip, the ankle length white sox, the buckled shiny shoes, the blue and white waisted frock with its lace trimmed collar... Then our trainer asked us take ourselves as adults into the imaginative frame, to draw the child to ourselves in any way that felt appropriate, and to speak a message from our older self - the one who has lived much of this child's future. It was a powerful, and clearly memorable experience for me and for the others with me. Now as I remember it in light of the theme I'm with today, I start to wonder about the bigger babushka that lies ahead (or behind) in my future. What would her words to me be? They're my words; perhaps I'm getting a sense of them already. I'm listening, Pam.


8 comments:

  1. I loved your blog Pam!
    With love Ana :)

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  2. There is, I swear, something afoot. My first guess is some powdered magic that draws the past forth and binds it. Last night, briefly awake, I felt the presence of a teenaged self and the urge to speak love and appreciation to her...for holding on, for somehow being spared the early exit she thought she desired. I got to thank her for resilience she never imagined. xo

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  3. Thanks for your comment Ana - and for joining my wee band of followers. I appreciate your visit! Pam x

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  4. Marilynn - how wonderful!! Magical and deeply real at the same time. Thanks so much for being willing to share that night-time conversation. Something's afoot yes, and I can't help wondering if this capacity to loop back to ourselves is another gift of these years - of this position on the life map.

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  5. Who could have guessed that such bounty could be discovered at our age, that the past is ahead of us, the future behind us in the dark--a truly marvelous post, Pam. And reaching back to our nested selves, to soothe and realign and console a younger part of us--how wonderful to think that in our future, our older-yet selves are waiting up the road and have so much to tell us, and are guiding us in unknown and mysterious ways. Lovely, Pam. As CB says, blessings. xo

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  6. Thanx melissa. Lovely to get your response to this. It's an interesting bounty that seems somehow related to a reduced - absent even? sense of urgency. To those younger, this state must seem like a fate worse than death. We know better (at least some of time.) Yay for new vistas, new ways to inhabit life. xo

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  7. I've done that - talked to my early self. It was good to tell the young guy who'd done something dumb that in the end, it was ok. And I put him in a headlock and told him that if he kept bugging me, he'd really get it. He just laughed coz he knows he's stronger than me, but he pretty much leaves me in peace now.
    Deep thinking and good writing, Pam - kia kaha tonu.

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